Under the Patronage of HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal, ARDD’s Global Network of Experts on The Question of Palestine Concluded its 2nd Annual Meeting Tuesday 22nd October 2019.
On 20 – 22 October, as part of its Global Network of Experts on the Question of Palestine’s efforts, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) organized the Networks 2nd Annual workshop in Amman titled “Palestinian Refugees: Towards a New Approach to Solutions” workshop in which the Network proceeded as per its first workshop’s (held in October 2018) recommendation’s to discuss a number of novel ideas with respect to the durable solutions for the Palestinian refugee issue. During the workshop, 30 Palestinian and international experts, from academia, civil society organizations and the international community at large, explored ways that could revitalize discussions around Palestinian refugees.
The workshop recalled that Palestinian refugees, including their descendants born in exile are recognized refugees under international law. As such, they enjoy fundamental rights under various bodies of international law, including human rights law and refugee law. A comprehensive, just and durable solution to the plight of these refugees – and for the Palestinians in general. Efforts to achieve this have been characterized by the asymmetry in the power of the parties to the negotiations and have ended in failure.
The network members demanded not to give up on the right of return and continue to embrace and advocate a human right approach. They also agreed that 70 years on is a defining moment to examine what we have been done and how, and how to better do it. The experts confirmed that the need to move the search for solutions from a framework determined by political considerations to one where international law, including relevant UN resolutions, and developments in human rights law as well as refugee law and practice, frame a renewed engagement on Palestinian refugee issues is of primary importance. They called on United Nations to reassume a central role in the search for solutions for Palestinian refugees and maintain international liability and accountability. Participants agreed that a multi-stakeholder approach, led by the Palestinians and civil society, giving agency to the refugees and host states, supported by key international stakeholders who are committed to peace and stability, should be launched. The input of the will of refugees themselves is essential and should be empowered.
The Network members pledged to continue their meetings with different members of the network individually and collectively on different issues through a consultative process to ensure effective outreach. As a part of a larger call for social justice in the region that addresses the needs of various vulnerable groups. This will include people-centric approaches to change that include placing refugees and vulnerable groups at the centre of these discussions. The network calls for institutional and individual support for the Question of Palestine.
After the conclusion of the workshop, his Royal Highness gave a keynote speech in which he stated that 70 years on the question of Palestine, the refugees plight is still unresolved. He questioned how statistics could be humanized. HRH emphasized the importance of the participation of academics, experts and refugees themselves and the community in the ongoing discourse thus conveying the authentic voices. His Royal Highness called for the establishment of an economic social council in the region to promote human dignity. Together we can face the indifference met by the Palestinian Refugees. He also added that the opposite of poverty is not wealth but justice. HRH then answered questions from the attendees and mentioned that no other country had to double its population since the 90s like Jordan. HRH Prince Hassan concluded the session saying, “When it comes to comprehensive and durable solutions, we have to talk about Justice.”
Dr. Zaid Eyadat ARDD’s chairman asserted that ARDD will continue to annually host its Global Network of Experts on the Question of Palestine meetings which it launched in 2018, as part of its programmatic mission to amplify the voices of the region about the region’s issues including the Question of Palestine. As ARDD aims to address how the discourse on the Question of Palestine is presently and predominantly produced according to invaluable insights of the member experts with that of the often underemphasized and equally valuable insights of experts from the Grassroots movements, hence offering a platform for a truly global perspective that will further support the refugees plight towards more just solutions.